The ITPR Group is a 20+ year old UK-based group of international B2B PR and Marketing companies, whose flagship company, ITPR, a B2B technology PR consultancy, has in the last month been confirmed as the Most Rated Technology PR Agency by Journalists according to a survey by PRWeek.
The B2B Marketing Lab is launched against a backdrop of rapidly evolving B2B PR and Marketing. ‘Traditional’ outbound marketing tactics such as telemarketing and direct mail are no longer returning sufficiently high return on investment due to their interruptive nature. For example, the Direct Marketing Association announced this year that direct mail response rates have dropped 25% over the last nine years, while a survey by US-software vendor Hubspot found that the proportion of marketing budgets dedicated to telemarketing has halved in the last 12 months, as it fails to generate an acceptable return.
The floundering returns of advertising, direct mail or telemarketing and other interruptive marketing techniques have therefore led to a growing movement towards content marketing and inbound marketing, which capitalises on buyers now preferring to seek out their own information to learn more about a product or service that they are considering buying, rather than being susceptible to information being thrust upon them.
Inbound marketing is a term coined by Brian Halligan – the founder of HubSpot, a US-based marketing automation software platform – interpreted by The B2B Marketing Lab as the science of using predominantly PR, social media and SEO to earn the attention of prospects by publishing valuable and educational content that your target audience will find through their own online research and consequently be drawn to your website to find out more.
Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer for HubSpot, comments, “Smart B2B marketeers understand that we live in a world where the buyer has all the power and you need to use content to attract inbound prospects. If you don’t have quality content that will be found by search engines you are ‘a high-street shop that has been boarded up’! Great relevant, educational content is the key to successful inbound marketing that attracts prospects to engage with you and buy your products and services.”
The B2B Marketing Lab has therefore been launched to help B2B companies – predominantly in the professional services and technology sectors, in addition to channel-led organisations and start-ups – to take advantage of the rising trend and higher effectiveness of inbound marketing and execute sales-focused marketing campaigns that are guaranteed to generate sales enquiries.
Because of the inherent need for high-quality content in order to power inbound marketing campaigns, The B2B Marketing Lab draws upon the 20 years of content marketing, B2B PR and media outreach experience of sister company ITPR and adds SEO, social media, web development, email marketing, marketing automation software deployment and lead nurturing services to build its integrated B2B marketing campaigns.
Bob Dearsley, Chief Executive of The B2B Marketing Lab, explains, “B2B marketing has been transformed in the last five years. Where telemarketing, advertising and direct mail used to be highly effective sales lead generators, now control has shifted to the customer who prefers to seek out information on their own terms. This means that B2B marketers have to change their approach from one-way interruptive broadcast to instead engage in two-way dialogue and distribute educational material using online PR, social media and SEO marketing and earn a position of ‘trusted advisor’ – a key part of successful sales activity.”
The B2B Marketing Lab is part of The ITPR Group, an accredited HubSpot partner, and has considerable experience and expertise in the deployment and management of marketing automation software platforms. Through the use of this technology and the collation of data from other sources such as web analytics, social media monitoring tools and SEO metrics, The B2B Marketing Lab’s teams are able to finitely measure every aspect of marketing – including most offline activities – and report on specific channels’ ROI and their impact on the sales pipeline.
Dearsley concludes, “Having devised B2B PR and marketing campaigns for 20 years and run in-house B2B marketing departments for 10 years before that, I have seen first-hand the potential for damage to a business when sales and marketing departments are not co-ordinated. The great advantage therefore of combining PR with inbound marketing techniques and marketing automation software, and the wealth of data that such an approach intrinsically delivers, is that the entire marketing process is entirely transparent and sales-focused. This therefore brings the sales and marketing teams together with a shared view of what the sales and marketing messages are, how they are promoted and, most importantly, exactly what constitutes a lead.”